Through two quarters, the Buffalo Bills are tied with the New England Patriots and the NFL referee crew, 13-13.
After forcing a Patriots three-and-out, the Bills methodically marched their way down the field. LeSean McCoy and company sustained their offensive drive for nearly ten minutes before the drive fizzled in the red zone. Stephen Hauschka finished with a 41 yard field goal to help the Bills take the lead. The Patriots extended their next drive into the second quarter, but strong tackling and focus from Buffalo’s defense kept New England out of the end zone - though the Patriots tied it at three.
On the first play of Buffalo’s second drive, the Bills found a hole in New England’s secondary - Tyrod Taylor hooked up with Deonte Thompson on a deep play action pass for a 46 yard gain. They knocked on the door of the end zone, and were even willing to go for a 4th and 2 conversion attempt, but while they were held scoreless, they pinned the Patriots close to their own end zone.
Buffalo’s defense kept playing at a high level on the next drive. With the Patriots facing a 3rd and seven, Jordan Poyer robbed a pass over the middle by Tom Brady, wrapped up the ball, then ran the remaining 15 yards into the end zone for a pick-six. The Bills were back in the lead.
The Patriots, being the Patriots, responded in short order. Driving down the field with mixed runs and passes, they eventually hit paydirt with a one-handed Rob Gronkowski catch. The Bills ended up punting on their next drive, and the Patriots, beneficiaries of a pass interference penalty, wound up in field goal range. A chess match then played out on 4th and 1 at the two minute warning, with McDermott, then Belichick, calling timeouts, before Belichick chose to settle for a field goal.
Facing a two minute drill, the Bills had one more bit of magic left. Taylor found Thompson on another deep pass to extend the drive to the red zone, and Kelvin Benjamin made a miracle catch in a miniscule window against Stephon Gilmore that the refs allowed to stand for a touchdown.
The referees decided to overturn the call on inconclusive video evidence, because the NFL doesn’t recognize any real standard of video review.
At halftime, the score is Bills 13, Referees and Patriots, 13.
The Bills will get the ball to start the second half. They’ve hung tight with the Patriots through two quarters, but if they want to stay in control of their playoff aspirations, there’s only one thing to do - finish with a win.
We’re talking about the second half in here. Go Bills!